Imdb (2009) says that one of the reasons Harrison Ford to decline the leading role was because he has got the feeling that the Revolutionary war is depicted as "one-man's-revenge". I believe that even though the plot of the film is centered on the American Revolution, the film focuses around the personal drama of the main character, rather than accurately describing the historical events. Even though the character of Benjamin Martin is slightly based on real life of the soldier Francis Marion, the film resembles a melodramatic performance by Gibson (Harvey 2000).
Garabedian (2009) comments that the film gets too personal and does not maintain the balance between the film's action and the main character's revenge. The director missed to represent the historical events in depth. Instead the audience witnesses ongoing bloody battles, where people are chopped off and killed all the time (Garabedian 2009). The bloodshed seems to be endless. What is ignored is some brief explanation about the historical background that the movie is representing. The fighting scenes are very unsettling. Harvey (2000) observes that the overuse of slow motion photography in most of the battles distort the senses of the viewer, as they can witness soldiers being struck by musket ball and the blood that spatter. Such a super slow motion was not necessary.
Why do you think the film was made when it was, and for what underlying purpose, if any
I believe that the film was filmed in order to instigate pride in Americans and to show how they built up their patriotism. The underlying purpose for me was also to see the Revolution through the eyes of one man who was led to take part in the war, out of his duty to protect both the land and the people from the British.
What do you think might have been happening in the contemporary climate when the film was made that could have influenced how the movie portrayed the past
The movie release data was in June 2000. If the movie was filmed two years from then, I presume that the focus will not be on one man only. After the events of September 11, I think that the patriot theme will concentrate around how the whole nation fights against its independence, instead of showing one evil man - Col. William Tavington against the inspiration of the good - Benjamin Martin.
What does the movie say both about the historical past it depicts and about the historical present when the film was made
In my opinion the movie goes too much into personal details and melodrama, interpersonal conflicts and aspirations rather than clarifying the historical circumstances that led to the American Revolution. The fight for freedom is not the fight of a nation, but the fight of a family, or several people trying to intercommunicate why they do it. The film reminds us that it is made is modern times, thanks to the violent, battle scenes that can shock any viewer. However, filmmakers beautifully recreates the atmosphere of the late 1700 with original South Caroline landscapes and cottages.
How receptive do you think audiences at the time might have been to see a movie like the one you